tv 116th Congress Freshmen Profile Interviews Part 2 CSPAN January 28, 2019 12:45pm-1:13pm EST
that debate, that discussion of free flowing ideas and free activity that comes with it, man sts in -- man feths in our laws. >> voice from the road on -span. >> a record number of women, minorities, and first time politicians are part of the 116th congress. c-span recently spoke with several of them. democrat josh harter was elected to represent california's 10th congressional district. he has worked as a venture capitalist and business professor.
>> my community really i vested a lot in me. my first job was paper boy for the local newspaper. went through the public school system. on these issues i cared about most, health care, imgrigs, my community was being left behind i decided to get in and see what i i could do to fix it. >> how are you able to beat four-term incumbent jeff denham? >> the issues in this campaign were so personal to so many people. health care was by far the strongest arrow in our quiver. my brother david was born 10 weeks premature. i can could hold my baby brother when i met him. insensitive care unit. he came out for the last time with a health care bill 104 pages long. luckily we have the insurance to take care of it. now he's healthy. local college student. one of our best volunteers in the campaign. my brother diffed wouldn't have
insurance until he was 65 because of my congress' vote to repeal the affordable care act. there are 100,000 people in my district with the exact same story. 23 million americans would have lost access to health care. and i think everybody saw that and they felt like they got to get off the sidelines and get involved in politics because their loved ones were at risk. that's why i think we were ablele to get across the finish line. >> one headline said you are the only venture capitalist headed to the house of representatives. what were you doing before you ran for office? >> a range of things. i was always focused on the same issue of economic development. looking at it worked with nonprofits, the gates foundation. helping farmers on a quarter acre of land, figure out how they could get access to markets. investing in businesses trying to get small companies to grow and create jobs. and teaching at a community
college briefly helping other people start their own ideas and go off and become entrepreneurs in community where only 16% of adults have a college degree. what i think changed for me is that on those issues i cared about, on the economic development issues that really caused y community, the by a lack of teachers or nonprofit leersdz or entrepreneurs, it's caused by our political leaders with the courage to move forward and get something done. when i recognized that i decided to deal with the same problem that i have been dealing with my whole career, but you do it from a political arena where i could make the biggest difference. >> what are your priorities? >> health care, immigration, and jobs. my district, 50% of people on medicaid. a huge, huge issue given the cuts we have been seeing. we have one of the largest immigrant communities of any area of the country. there are over 10,000 dreamers. i taught them at my community college classroom. they were volunteers on our campaign.
one woman working two part-time jobs. wants to grow up, be a pharmacist, live the american dream, but her daca protection expired last october. we need to protect the kids and focus on the american values we live. and third, jobs. we have got to fix an area just like so many other areas in america, we have an unemployment rate close to twice the national average. 80% of the kids on free and reduced lunch. that's what i i focused on my business career and doing in congress. >> what advice have you been given about serving in the house of representatives? what has resonated with you? >> keep an open mind, work hard. and reach across the aisle. those three things have really been top of mine. pretty much everybody. i have been lucky to get a wonderful set of mentors. people that are really invested in my success. people like congresswoman zo lofgren, head of the california caucus. congressman pete aguilar.
folks from california who represent various more districts than mine. in my district i don't have the lucky of only preaching to republicans or democrats. the chair: from a swing community where 49% of my district voted for trump, anti-rest voted for hillary. i have to be able to forge those bipartisan compromise. don't think congress has done a great job of that so far. luckily this time around in this congress i i think we have a lot of leaders that represent communities like mine who have a very vested incentive in an era of divided government where democrats control one half, republicans control the other, they are actually governing and getting stuff done. >> what was your parents' reaction to your victory? what have they said about your time out here? >> they were shocked i ran in the first place. i think when i first gave my mom the call and told her i was thinking about doing this, she anticipated a call about other things before i said i would run for congress. she was shocked. my parents come from a long line of service oriented folks.
working in a poverty health delinic in the dominican republic. but not that politically engaged. very similar working on those same issues but not from the political end. yet they were like unbelievably involved in my campaign. my mom knocking on doors. i think they are excited about a community that can come together and where we can create action on all the priorities we have been campaigning on for the last two years. people are looking for progress. >> republican pete, a retired duluth, minnesota police commander. elected to represent minnesota's eighth congressional district. he also served as a county commissioner. he played professional hockey for the detroit red wings. >> the eighth congressional district of minnesota would be the northern suburbs of minneapolis-st. paul, all the way up north and east all wait up to the canadian border. the center is the city of
delute, minnesota, on the western tip of lake superior. taste a big district. 27,000 square miles. and i i put a lot of miles during the campaign. >> what are the priorities for that district? >> we're in the eight the district, blue collar, common sense conservatives. we have timber, ag, mining is big. we have most inland port in the country, the seaway port authority of duluth. we have shifting not only for the lakers bringing down the steel plants, but salties that come in here from around the world. >> were you born in that area. what did your parents do? >> i was born and raised in the city of duluth. my mother was the medical records add add straightor and my father sold janitorial supplies. hock way was a big part of my family. both by brothers and i played
division i hockey, by brother was a goaltender. he won a memorial award as a the first goaltender in the country. i won national championship division i out of sue st. marie, michigan. my younger brother rob just coached the u.s. olympic women's hockey team to the gold medal. i myself was fortunate enough to play professional hockey with the detroit red wings organization. hockey is part of our lives and part of minnesota. >> what have you you learned from playing hockey? >> teamwork. perseverance. hard work is always the equalizer. for me many people never gave me a chance to not only play division i hockey, let alone a professional. it was hard work. perseverance. dedication. and just that drive to meet your goal. i was very fortunate. >> how long did you play for? >> three years. i retired due to an injury to my neck. >> what did do you after that? >> i became a police officer.
paramedic in the suburb of st. paul, cottage grove. then i moved to my hometown and became a police officer in my hometown. rising to the rank of area commander. i was basically responsible for the western half of the city of duluth for a long and short-term problem solving. >> how did you decide you would run for this seat? >> i spent eight years on the local city council. and i sent six years as a st. louis county commissioner. i thought the greatest generation gave us a great country. i stn on the shoulders of that generation. and i want to make sure that the next generation, our children and grandchildren, that same opportunity to live -- same hopes, dreams, and opportunities that my generation had. and have a fashion to o serve and that was what propelled me to run for this office. >> what will your priorities be next year? >> to keep the pro-growth economy going . to make sure we work on health
care. in particular, back home in my district i want to make sure our ag community is taken care of. timber community is taken care of. f course our mining community. in minnesota miping is the past, present, and future. >> democrat gil cisneros was elected to california's 39th congressional district. he served in the navy and later in life won $266 million in california's megamillions lottery in 2010. you are going to represent the 399 -- 39th district in the next congress but you used to be a republican. >> long time ago. while back. it's been a while. i like to think i'm a good strong democrat now. going along talking to people about issues. immigration reform. making sure we're protecting those with pre-existing conditions. protecting our environment. and of course my favorite subject always to talk about is
education. >> why did you become a republican and when did you make the switch and why? >> i decided after 2008 that i needed to go in a different direction. , the i valued issues things i talk about, commonsense gun legislation, education, immigration reform, these are all these issues that have been very important to me. there was issues that the republican party was continually moving away from. i think after the 2008 election, the way they attacked president obama with the whole birther movement and everything, that wasn't something i wanted to be a part of. >> you ran what has been a predominantly republican area, orange county, why did you decide to run this time for this seat? >> i never thought i would run for congress. it was never anything that i aspired to do. i was very happy working on
education issues that my wife and i have been doing through our foundation. i think after the 2016 election, we needed change. we needed somebody who was going to stand up to the current administration. we needed somebody that was going to advocate for those that didn't really -- voices weren't being heard. i went around talking to people and they told me maybe you should think about running. and talked it over with my wife. points like education, health care, immigration reform, commonsense gun legislation, protecting our planet right then and there, that was when i decided to run for education. o your education foundation when, was that started? what were the goals? >> well, we started that back in the end of 2010. it was really about creating opportunity through education for individuals. i have been very fortunate in my
life. i was the first in my family to go to college. people looked out for me. that's what we have been trying to do is to give people the information that they need to give them that boost to help put them on a path to college. we have been doing that by sponsoring scholarsships. creating cot can ledge access programs and investing in early education. >> what were you doing before the foundation? >> before the foundation i was actually -- went into the navy right out of high school. was fortunate to get that navy rotc scholarship. that paid for my college. i ended up in the navy. four years of my life with that. served my country for 10 years which i'm very proud. after that i got out of the navy and worked for free-throwo lay for a while -- frito lay at a manufacturing plant d various jobs in manufacturing, shipping and receiving.
decided i wanted a change. after that we ended up starting a foundation after we got another good luck and won the lottery back in 2010. >> $266 million. >> that was it. >> how have you spent the money? how have you prioritized things? >> for us it's been about growing and creating our foundation to go out and give people a leg up. to give them opportunity through education. that was something that we knew we wanted to do right from the beginning. we're very lucky and able to go in to do that. to invest in our students. because we know investment in them is an investment in the future of our country. >> will your wife join you? >> i think they are going to spend the bulk of their time in california. my wife is not a cold weather person. she's having a little -- not that cold right now, but she's having struggle with it being a california girl. >> were you born and raised in
california? >> i was. i was born and raised in southern california. lived there my entire life until i went into the navy. and i can't think of any other place to live. i have had the opportunity to live around the world, across the united states, i can't think of a greater place to live than southern california. that's what took me back. >> what will your priorities be here while are you in washington, legislative priorities, and explain how that impacts your district. .
we need to go out there and create opportunity for those that need it. >> finally, c-span spoke with republican dusty johnson who won south dakota's at large congressional district seat which covers 77,000 square miles. we asked how he planned to represent a district that large. mr. johnson: well, you got to be willing to work hard. i served six years as a state public utilities commission. in south dakota we elect those jobs. in most states they don't. you got to remember who the bosses are. you got to be willing to go out to every corner of the state. i've done that in the past. i am a little bit of a muteant. i like it. it is an opportunity, not an obligation. >> it's a different commute this time. can you tell us what it's like when you leave last votes thursday or friday? mr. johnson: if you make it
productive time you can feel good. you need a lot of reading files. most members of congress work hard. that is one area where i excell. the good lord didn't gift me with all talents but one talent he did give me is the opportunity to buckle down, work hard, do my home work and so i'm always going to be the guy at committee hearing who understands the bill, understands what the oversight hearing's about, understand what the line of questioning should be. that's where i will add value to this place. the first step in that is making sure on the flight back home i am doing my reading. >> what were you doing before the people of south dakota hired you to do this job? mr. johnson: i have been in business. mitchell, south dakota, home of the world 80's only corn palace, we have an engineering and consulting firm and we help rural telecommunications providers. we have 250 employees. we are out there in some of the most rural and remote parts of this country and we're helping companies put together the plan
they need to put that fiber-optic network out so families and business ks have giga bit speed. it's what they need and it's been an absolute joy. >> how is the state of south dakota doing providing those services? mr. johnson: we are doing well. we are doing better than the rest of the country with regard to rural connectivity. there is room for improvement. if you have one person that still doesn't have high speed internet you have work to do. in south dakota we do hundreds of miles a year of fiber-optic engineering, design, layout. nationwide we do about 8,000 miles a year. we are really good at it. we do a little bit in our back yard but do a lot in 40 other states as well. >> how would you describe your political style? mr. johnson: my political style is collaborative. i am a little bit right of center. if i were the emperor of the united states of america we would have a federal government with a lot less intrusion in people's lives and remember the importance of the 10th
amendment and federalism. we would allow these state governments to be inowe vavet and give them flexibility to solve some of these problems. but my style is not to say if i don't get my way i will burn the whole place down. this is about trying to find common ground so we can take one step forward tomorrow which gives us an opportunity to take another step forward tomorrow and another step forward the day after that. that kind of incremental progress is frustratingly slow. it is to me and i know it is to the voters as well. that's really the only way this kind of government works. the founders didn't set it up so it was going to be fast and easy. they set it up so this deliberative process, this deliberate process would give us good government for the long haul. it's worked pretty well for the last 200 and some years and i am looking to be part of it. >> you said collaborative. is there anyone on the other side that you think will work with on some of your issues? mr. johnson: so much is made of the partisan ranker in
washington, d.c. and i am sure it exists. i haven't seen it, not personally. the members on the other side of the aisle when they had an opportunity to sit down with me, you know, where there has from new york -- and ben mcadams, it was about 10:30 at night and we were talking, man, is there an opportunity for us to work together? states like utah and south dakota, we have a lot more in common than we have in opposition and let's pick the areas. we were pretty excited about the opportunities. now, i'm not -- there are a lot of things i don't agree with my friends on the other side of the aisle on. when i think speaker pelosi is making a big mistake and i'm sure she'll make a bunch of them i will be willing to say that. i won't muzzle that. i won't take a political shot just to take a political shot. >> how du define success two years from today? mr. johnson: i am a policy guy. i don't think you make good
policy by just screaming like your hair's on fire on television. at some point it does come down to the hard work we are talking about. it does come down to showing up at committee and doing the blocking and tackling. getting these important but not sexy provisions put in the larger bills. >> what are a few of those? mr. johnson: with the farm bill, it is critically important we have a rural policy. invest in rural utilities. invest in rural broadband we were talking about earlier. it's all about making sure our crop insurance program is robust so one bad weather event doesn't put hundreds or many even thousands of producers out of business permanently. we have to have that safety net in order to feed the world. >> do you have a political mentor? mr. johnson: guy i was talking to, senator john thune, i learned a lot from john thune over the years. this is a guy that's also collaborative, this is a guy that also does his home work and can't be outworked. we are very different.
parts of our style that can be very different and so i've always tried to take a little bit from different leaders. i learned some from congresswoman noem who will be the great innovative governors that we help to return power to. senator rounds, governor dugard, people that had every possibly opportunity given me word of encouragement and word of advice. it is sometimes said republican circles -- republican leaders like to eat their young. that has never been my experience. if anything i found that they are welcoming to people who want to step up and help share the burden. >> you spent a bit of time in the governor's office. can you speak about that? mr. johnson: state government has 14,000 employees. it's got a $4 billion budget. that may not sound like a lot to your viewers in california or texas or florida, but sounds pretty big. to a country boy like me. $4 billion is a lot of money. for me it was an incredible opportunity to help the
governor put his values and his views into place. you know, the governor is the c.e.o. of a corporation. state government. the chief of staff is the c.o.o., the chief operating officer. and that is the sort of detail work which i excelled. we had a really, really good run. the average tenure for a gubernatorial chief of staff in this country is 18 months. when i stepped down after four years i was the sixth longest tenured chief of staff. i was happy walking out the door as i was walking in. it was a joy. >> four years in the governor's office. the occupant of the office you are about to take over is now headed to the governor's mansion. do you have any interest in returning to the governor's mansion one day? mr. johnson: well, that's really not my business. south dakota has a governor. i expect she will do a fantastic job for the next eight years. i have a job to do for the next two years. i think it will be a little insulting for the people of south dakota to take my eye off
this roll. they may throw me out on my ear in 24 months. if they do that that's their prerogative. they're the bosses. i think they are a lot less likely to do that to make sure i am doing business now. >> the first floor speech. have you thought what it's going to be about? mr. johnson: i haven't thought what my first floor speech will be. before i start making speeches on the floor of the house, i want to be relevant. i think anybody can show up and say -- not anybody. any member of congress can show up and they can give some great speech with flowering oratory but what if nobody's listening or what if the people listening aren't really taking it to heart because they don't respect the speaker yet? maybe they'll respect that member of congress two months or two years from now but if they don't respect them on the day of that speech that speech means nothing. it's political window dressing. i think i'm capable of speaking from the heart and in an authentic way making a particular point from the
podium. before i try to stress what my views are i want to make sure i earn the respect of them and i think my words will carry a lot more weight. >> new congress, new leaders, atch it all on c-span. >> well, the house is in session right now. right now members are taking a break until 2:00 p.m. after brief remarks we expect them to gavel back out again until 4:45. in the interim, the white house is giving a briefing to reporters. we don't see them often these days but that is set to begin at 3:00 p.m. eastern and we'll bring it to you live on c-span. later this afternoon, the house will return for legislative work. that will be at 4:45. members will consider three financial services bills. votes will happen after 6:30 eastern. also house and senate conferees are preparing to negotiate funding for security of the u.s. southern border. which was part of the deal agreed to by president trump to temporarily reopen the federal government through february 15.
later today, it's a conversation with a bipartisan group of governors, larry hogan of maryland, chris sununu of new hampshire and tom wolf of pennsylvania about reaching . ross the political table you can listen live with the free c-span radio app. and then tomorrow, c.i.a. director, national intelligence director dan coats and f.b.i. director christopher wray will be on capitol hill testifying before the senate intelligence committee on threats to the u.s. we'll have live coverage of that for you tomorrow starting at 9:30 eastern also on c-span3. >> this week on "the communicators" consumer technology association president gary shapiro on the major issues facing the $398 billion technology industry in the u.s. >> because i also see where the future is going with technology -- like we know robotics will
be here, artificial intelligence, drones, self-driving cars, individual oriented medical treatments, certainly biotech in a way we never experienced before, block chain technology, all these are coming. how do you succeed as a ninja, somebody that's flexible, knowing part of the future is not clear but part of it is totally clear? how do you benefit from that if you are a government, business, or individual? >> join us tonight at 8:00 astern on c-span2. >> new york has five new members in its congressional delegation all of whom are democrats. representative alexandria ocasio-cortez joins the house as the youngest member of congress at age 29. she defeated longtime representative and then chair of the house democratic caucus joe crowley in a primary election last summer. voters in new york's 22nd district elected anthony britain disy t